Boys basketball cruised to a 104-71 win over district opponent Shawnee High School on Friday, Dec. 5.
After only leading by four points at the end of the first quarter, the Crimson defense lead an 18-4 run in the second quarter.
“We started to play defense in the second quarter, and once we picked up our defense everything else started to follow,” Ja’Kory Freeman (12, #10) said.
Manual outscored the Golden Eagles 36-16 in the second quarter, 35-22 in the third and then cruised in the fourth.
“We hustled for about two and a half quarters, but we let up for a bit and we can’t afford to do that,” head coach Jimmy Just (Math) said.
Despite the win, the Crimsons want to work on starting faster.
“We have to get our minds right before the game,” Dwayne Sutton (12, #22) said. “We got to get focused and treat the opponent like they are the best team in the state, and just come out ready.”
Offensively, the Crimsons were effective against Shawnee.
“We slowed down the ball; we were patient, and we just worked off of how the defense played,” Jo Aunn Rivers (11, #20) said. “We were working pretty good we just got to keep being patient and work the ball around.”
The Crimsons were patient on offense, which led to open shots.
Sutton played a strong game. After coming off of a 29 point performance on Tuesday against CAL, Sutton played an all around game, scoring, rebounding and passing the ball. Sutton recorded a double-double with 36 points and 14 rebounds (stats from KHSAA Scoreboard).
“I played pretty well,” Sutton said. “I passed the ball, got a lot of rebounds, a lot of easy shots and I hit my free throws; it made everything easier.”
Sutton wants to continue to assert himself as a leader of the team.
“Dwayne’s playing well, he just needs to stay within the offense and continue to play team ball,” Just said. “He does a lot, but we need him to do a lot.”
“I got to keep being vocal, lead the team, and make sure that we know what we are doing on offense and on defense, and make sure that I make everything easier for my team,” Sutton said.
Even though Sutton has been the catalyst, the rest of the team has also thrived early in the season.
“We got about nine guys right now who have separated themselves from everyone else,” Just said. “They aren’t perfect, but they are playing hard.”
The win gives Manual a 2-0 (1-0 District 25) record. The Crimsons will play Ashland Blazer at PRP in the Panther Classic on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m.